SAN JOSE – The Sharks snapped their modest two-game losing streak, squeaking by the Hurricanes, 4-3 on Saturday night at The Tank. What were the three biggest takeaways from the game? Here they are…
1 – Fighting through the circumstances
About two hours before puck drop, I asked Pete DeBoer about how this game might be a difficult one to play, facing a more rested Hurricanes team on the second of a back-to-back, and with the four-game road trip coming up. It was evident that DeBoer agreed that it might be.
And, it looked that way, as the Sharks only got 20 shots on goal and were playing a much looser game in their own end than normal. But a win is a win, especially as the Pacific Division standings seem to get tighter by the day (where did Calgary come from, anyway?) DeBoer also mentioned before the game that the first goal was going to be key, and they got it from Patrick Marleau.
“You had a feeling that it was one of those games…you just have to find a way to win,” Joe Pavelski said. “Kind of similar on the road – be patient, wait for a bounce. The start tonight was big for us to get a goal. They got one back, but we just kept answering and played with that lead. It makes it a bit easier.”
2 – Missing Vlasic
The good news regarding Vlasic, who left the game with a lower body injury in the second period, is that he was spotted standing outside the Sharks’ dressing room after the game without any crutches or walking boot. For what that’s worth.
But with the Sharks already down a defenseman in David Schlemko, they certainly don’t need Vlasic going out, too. Against the Hurricanes, they managed to get by with guys like Justin Braun (24:22) and Brenden Dillon (22:50) playing extended minutes.
If Schlemko and Vlasic are OK for the flight to Toronto, it opens the door to recall another forward like, perhaps, Timo Meier. But if Mueller has to stick around or even play, that probably won’t allow San Jose to recall anyone else, as the the team remains up against the salary cap.
3 – Dell gets it done again
Make it four quality starts out of four for Aaron Dell in his career now, after he made 30 saves against Carolina to improve to 3-1. He was especially clutch in the final minutes when the Hurricanes were pushing for the equalizer with goalie Cam Ward pulled for the extra attacker.
He’s feeing better with every game.
“With the experience comes a little confidence,” Dell said.
Perhaps he won’t have to wait very long to get another game, as the Sharks have another back-to-back set to start their road trip in Toronto on Tuesday and Ottawa on Wednesday. Could Dell make his second straight start against the Maple Leafs? I wouldn’t rule it out.